I have long thought that the interventions needed to help our son manage mental illness are the same kinds of care I need to maintain my own good emotional health. God thinks so too, because in Psalm 23 He describes the ways He takes care of all of His people, even me.
The LORD is my shepherd: The One who is-all powerful, all-knowing, all-loving is watching over my life. I am not in charge, neither am I alone. I can entrust my loved one and myself to His care.
I shall not want: The good Shepherd will supply all my needs. He will not withhold from me what would be good for me. The timing of His answer is just as much a part of His care as the provision.
We have just set out on our journey into the new year, but I’m circling back to my thought posted for Christmas 2017. It was just an image, an e-card of sorts, with these words: “May the Prince of Peace reign in your heart at Christmas and always.” It is in Isaiah that the title “Prince of Peace” is bestowed on the coming Messiah. It is in Luke that the angels proclaim “peace on earth” when the Messiah is revealed as Jesus, and the baby Prince comes to begin His reign. And it is in my heart that it really needs to happen.
The world has been churning up perpetual chaos in recent years: earthquakes, fires, floods, famine, wars and threats of war. For families dealing with mental illness, those external events are poignant symbols for the chaos in our lives. When our loved ones’ minds are churning like great waves or their unsettledness sends their thoughts leaping and flaring like a raging fire, our lives are disrupted through seismic-like shocks. And it is then we ask, “Where is my Prince of Peace?” Continue reading
I invited Douglas’ wife, who is a peer support specialist, to share with you some things she has mentioned to me that can help loved ones who deal with mental illness navigate the holiday season. Continue reading
During Thanksgiving at our house, around the table filled with too much food, the conversation usually includes the obligatory listing of things we are thankful for. We recite what we have seen God give or do for us in the last year. New babies, new jobs, new friends. We mention happy vacations or meaningful opportunities, all good gifts from our good Heavenly Father.
However, rarely are there offers of gratitude for the tough stuff: broken relationships, financial struggles, consequences of poor decisions. We are thankful for the gains, but not so appreciative of the losses. As a family dealing with mental illness, some years our honest recounting includes more of the latter.
This blog was written at the invitation of Amy Simpson (author of Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission) and posted on her site October 2, 2017. I was grateful to her for the opportunity to share these thoughts with her readers.
I can’t honestly say I am thankful for the mental illness that besets our son. But in full truthfulness I can say I am glad to have been forced to do battle with my theology of suffering and to test both its mettle and mine.
Like so many others, it was in late adolescence when Douglas slammed into the invisible wall of mental illness. He was running forward, full throttle, toward his goals for college and career when his world—and ours—crashed.
An article I read years ago about children with ADD was entitled “Unhappy Wanderers.” It’s also a succinct and sobering description of many who struggle with mental illnesses. In fact, for many years it was the title I attached to our son, like a knight’s moniker … Douglas: the Unhappy Wanderer. Continue reading
I hung up the phone and turned back to my friend sitting across the table. “Every time I talk to or see Douglas I need to take a moment to catch my breath and then worship my God of the impossible,” I whispered, awestruck, once again. Continue reading
As I have said many times, families dealing with mental illness are not alone. In fact, one in five families each year are impacted by mental health difficulties. There are a few who also write about their journeys. For example, I have found Maree Dee’s blogs a great encouragement to me and I appreciate her willingness to share one of her insights with us (below). Read more of her thoughts at Embracing the Unexpected.
Do you categorize people based on differences? I honestly didn’t think I did until it hit me smack dab in the face at a recent convention. It got me thinking: What might happen if we stopped putting people in boxes? Continue reading